The growth of the FinTech industry in Georgia has quickly established our home state as an epicenter for the marriage of technology and financial services. FinTech companies in Georgia generate annual revenues of $49 billion by providing mobile banking, data sharing, investing, digital lending and payment processing, among other services. They employ more than 42,000 professionals.
At the center of this growing “ecosystem” is Hillery Brown Champagne ’06, director of FinTech Atlanta, which is a coalition of companies that collaborate to advance Atlanta’s position as a global capital of financial technology. In her role, she connects startups with established companies, connects talent with potential employers, works with legislators on public policy related to FinTech and leads events for the organization. She is the sole employee, reporting to the board of FinTech Atlanta, which houses an office at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
Ms. Champagne graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in advertising and Spanish; she spent a semester abroad in Valencia, Spain. She previously worked at the Metro Atlanta Chamber on the economic development team. In 2016, then-Gov. Nathan Deal and the Chamber organized the financial technology companies to form FinTech Atlanta. Ms. Champagne was offered the role of director in January 2022.
The growth and change in the industry continue to position Atlanta as a leader. In 2019, the Georgia Fintech Academy was established as an arm of the University System of Georgia to prepare students for careers in FinTech.
“The academy fills a gap for students coming out of college and is a great way for them to build relationships and gain experience,” Ms. Champagne said.
This year, Ms. Champagne is working with the PEAK Institute at HIES to provide the students in the program with some experiential learning opportunities related to FinTech. She also has connected the program with some key leaders at the Metro Atlanta Chamber and hopes to visit with students on campus.
She encouraged all students to be confident heading into college and careers. “Look for leadership opportunities and don’t be scared to step up,” she said.
As a HIES student, she was involved with cheer, peer counseling, tennis and Student Council. Art and English were among her favorite subjects. She and her husband John, a Lovett School graduate, are the proud parents of Greer, age 4, and Jack, almost 2.
— Christina Mimms